California ‘Dreamers’ May Get Licenses

By EGP News Report

Update: AB 2189 passed the Assembly on Aug. 30, the Governor has 30 days to sign the bill into law or veto it.

A bill to allow undocumented youth under the age of 31 to apply for a California driver’s license could be headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) was able to amend AB 2189, with support from the bill’s original author, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, to include language that would allow undocumented youth who qualify to receive a work permit and avoid deportation under a new Obama Administration program, to apply for a state issued driver’s license. By amending an existing bill, he was able to get around the state’s lapsed deadline for submitting new bills.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: AB 2189 Podría Permitir que los Jóvenes Indocumentados Obtengan Licencias de Conducir en California

Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, eligible candidates are undocumented youth who came to the US before age 16 and who are under 31, in school or have completed school, or who have served in the military.

Excitement over DACA caused many to assume they would also be eligible for driver’s licenses. But some states, like Arizona and Nebraska, have already announced they will prohibit these soon to be newly classified undocumented immigrants from receiving driver’s licenses in those states.

Cedillo originally intended to find an administrative solution to enable the so-called Dream Act eligible youth to obtain a driver’s license, but decided to introduce the revised legislation shortly after the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) indicated that it appeared only certain types of federal immigration documents would support the issuance of a California driver’s license, making it unclear if documents issued under DACA would meet those requirements.

Under AB 2189, which originally would have allowed people to use a photograph to rent a car, a California driver’s license can be obtained using any federal document received by a deferred action beneficiary as proof of legal presence in the state.

As of press time, the bill was still making its way through the Legislature, but is expected to make it to the governor’s desk by the end of the week.

Cedillo has been trying to get legislation passed to allow undocumented immigrants to receive a driver’s license since 1998. In 2003, SB 60 was signed into law by then Gov. Gray Davis, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger repealed it before it went into effect. He tried numerous more times to get the bill passed, most recently in 2010, but it died in committee.

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August 30, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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